Leonardo Da Vinci
Italian High Renaissance Painter and Inventor, 1452-1519
Florentine Renaissance man, genius, artist in all media, architect, military engineer. Possibly the most brilliantly creative man in European history, he advertised himself, first of all, as a military engineer. In a famous letter dated about 1481 to Ludovico Sforza, of which a copy survives in the Codice Atlantico in Milan, Leonardo asks for employment in that capacity. He had plans for bridges, very light and strong, and plans for destroying those of the enemy. He knew how to cut off water to besieged fortifications, and how to construct bridges, mantlets, scaling ladders, and other instruments. He designed cannon, very convenient and easy of transport, designed to fire small stones, almost in the manner of hail??grape- or case-shot (see ammunition, artillery). He offered cannon of very beautiful and useful shapes, quite different from those in common use and, where it is not possible to employ cannon ?? catapults, mangonels and trabocchi and other engines of wonderful efficacy not in general use. And he said he made armoured cars, safe and unassailable, which will enter the serried ranks of the enemy with their artillery ?? and behind them the infantry will be able to follow quite unharmed, and without any opposition. He also offered to design ships which can resist the fire of all the heaviest cannon, and powder and smoke.
The large number of surviving drawings and notes on military art show that Leonardo claims were not without foundation, although most date from after the Sforza letter. Most of the drawings, including giant crossbows (see bows), appear to be improvements on existing machines rather than new inventions. One exception is the drawing of a tank dating from 1485-8 now in the British Museum??a flattened cone, propelled from inside by crankshafts, firing guns. Another design in the British Museum, for a machine with scythes revolving in the horizontal plane, dismembering bodies as it goes, is gruesomely fanciful.
Most of the other drawings are in the Codice Atlantico in Milan but some are in the Royal Libraries at Windsor and Turin, in Venice, or the Louvre and the École des Beaux Arts in Paris. Two ingenious machines for continuously firing arrows, machine-gun style, powered by a treadmill are shown in the Codice Atlantico. A number of other sketches of bridges, water pumps, and canals could be for military or civil purposes: dual use technology.
Leonardo lived at a time when the first artillery fortifications were appearing and the Codice Atlantico contains sketches of ingenious fortifications combining bastions, round towers, and truncated cones. Models constructed from the drawings and photographed in Calvi works reveal forts which would have looked strikingly modern in the 19th century, and might even feature in science fiction films today. On 18 August 1502 Cesare Borgia appointed Leonardo as his Military Engineer General, although no known building by Leonardo exists.
Leonardo was also fascinated by flight. Thirteen pages with drawings for man-powered aeroplanes survive and there is one design for a helicoidal helicopter. Leonardo later realized the inadequacy of the power a man could generate and turned his attention to aerofoils. Had his enormous abilities been concentrated on one thing, he might have invented the modern glider. Related Paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci :. | Pod of cherry and forest strawberry | The Virgin of the Rocks | The Annunciation | Virgin of the Rocks | Portrait of Mona Lisa,La Gioconda (mk05) |
Related Artists:Wendel, Theodore
American, 1859-1932Peter F Rothermel
Peter F Rothermel Gallery
Rothermel was born in Nescopeck, Pennsylvania in 1817, although some date his birth earlier in 1813 or 1814. He studied under John R. Smith and Bass Otis before studying in various places in Europe. He specialized in portraits and dramatic historical paintings. He served as Vice President of the Artists' Fund Society in 1844 and as Director of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts from 1847 to 1855.
His most famous paintings include Patrick Henry before the Virginia House of Burgesses (1851) and a massive oil painting of the Battle of Gettysburg that hangs in the State Museum of Pennsylvania. This latter work was commissioned by Gettysburg lawyer David McConaughy. Another of his more popular historical works is Columbus Before the Queen, painted in 1844.Master of Moulins
1480-1500 Master of Moulins Gallery
Until the late 20th century, the name of the painter of the Moulins Triptych was unknown, although art historians identified a number of other works that were evidently by the same hand. The first monograph on the Master of Moulins, written in 1961 by Madeleine Huillet d'Istria, argued that this artist did not actually exist, and that more than 12 different artists were responsible for the corpus of works traditionally ascribed to him. The Master's identity was established after an inscription was found on the reverse of a damaged painting, Christ with Crown of Thorns (1494) in the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, Brussels, identifying the artist as Jean Hey, teutonicus and pictor egregius ("the famous painter"), and identifying the patron as Jean Cueillette, who was secretary to the King and an associate of the Bourbon family. Stylistic similarities link this painting to the works attributed to the Master of Moulins. The Master of Moulins appears to have been the court painter for the Bourbons, and from a surviving account for 1502-03, it is clear that the court painter's name was Jean; other candidates once considered plausible, such as Jean Perr??al and Jean Prevost, have proven untenable in the light of subsequent research. The term "Teutonicus", or "German" included Flemings at this date.